Man charged with four felonies in drive-thru attack

Nathan Ray Kelly Ellis

Nathan Ray Kelly Ellis | Bannock County Jail

POCATELLO — A local man faces multiple felonies after an alleged attack in Pocatello.

Nathan Ray Kelly Ellis, 20, faces felony charges for aggravated assault, concealment of evidence and two counts of aggravated battery after he allegedly pistol-whipped a man and woman in the early morning hours Saturday — New Year’s Day — court documents show. Investigators said he fired a handgun in the air after pointing it at multiple people.

Officers from the Pocatello Police Department responded to the 400 block of East Center Street just before 2 a.m. following multiple 911 calls, according to an affidavit of probable cause.

The first officer there, who was patrolling in the area when flagged down by witnesses, found one of the victims sitting in an alleyway near Jack in the Box. The victim told the officer that she had been sitting in that spot since the incident occurred as she believed she had broken her leg, the affidavit says.

As additional officers arrived, they collected statements from several witnesses, as well as two additional victims.

According to the statements, the woman who had spoken with the first officer was driving with three others in her car. They were heading to the restaurant’s drive-thru, but people were standing in front of the entrance.

The driver stopped near the alleyway separating Jack in the Box and Grifols Biomat and honked her horn at the group. According to the victim statements, one of the women in the group turned to the car, hit the hood and yelled, “You f***ing hit me!” The victim got out of the car and the woman who hit the hood of her car tried to strike her, but the victim hit her first.

That was when Ellis pulled a gun, she told officers, first hitting her with what she described as a downward hammering-type motion. Ellis then allegedly turned to two men, who had gotten out of the vehicle, hitting the first and pointing the gun at the second, multiple victims told officers.

Ellis then allegedly fired a single shot in the air and walked back toward a Toyota SUV parked in the area.

One of the witnesses provided officers with a cellphone video. The video, the affidavit says, did not capture the entire incident — only the final 39 seconds.

Police say that others believed to be with Ellis at the time beat and kicked the male victim who was on the ground.

With a suspect they believed to be armed inside the vehicle, officers waited for additional support. When they did approach, the affidavit reads, fogged windows made it difficult to see inside, but two people were seen lying in the two front seats of the vehicle.

Officers ordered the two people to get out. Ellis and his girlfriend complied.

Officers noted that Ellis was wearing clothing different from that he had been seen wearing in the cellphone video captured minutes before.

Both Ellis and his girlfriend — the woman who police say tried to hit the female victim — were transported to the police station for an interview. There, officers were granted permission to check the vehicle.

While looking in the car, officers found the clothes Ellis had been wearing at the time of the incident. They also found the gun that was believed to have been used, tucked under a laundry basket in the backseat.

During an interview, Ellis provided police with his account of the incident.

“The video contradicted what Ellis claimed,” the affidavit says.

Ellis told officers that he and his girlfriend had been attacked and that he pulled a gun in self-defense.

Asked why he needed a gun, Ellis said there was no way for him to be sure the other party was not armed as well.

Ellis said that he did not point the gun at anyone, just showed it to stifle the situation. He also told officers that he and his girlfriend had returned to their vehicle and were inside it when the shot was fired.

Officers then showed him the video, which allegedly showed him pointing the gun at a second male victim before firing it in the air. Ellis then “hesitantly” said he had fired a shot in the air, police said.

Ellis was transported to Bannock County Jail, where he is currently being held on a $100,000 bond.

His girlfriend was released. However, officers turned over all information regarding the incident to the Bannock County Prosecutor’s Office, according to court documents, allowing the office to determine if charges should be filed against her.

Both victims were transported to Portneuf Medical Center for treatment. The woman suffered a cut to the bridge of her nose and a broken shin, according to the affidavit. The first male victim was treated for cuts to his nose, right ear and near his right eye.

Ellis faces charges for aggravated battery against both victims. He has also been charged with aggravated assault, for pointing the gun at the second male victim, and concealing evidence, for changing his clothes and hiding the gun “within minutes” after the incident.

He allegedly told officers that he knew he had “gotten into something he shouldn’t have” and implied that he was trying to make himself less recognizable by changing his clothes.

If he is found guilty, Ellis would face up to 15 years in prison for each of the aggravated battery charges, and another five apiece for the aggravated assault and concealment charges. He would also face up to $160,000 in fines.

Ellis is scheduled to appear in court for a preliminary hearing on Jan. 11.

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